The world of Okamiden is a strange one, but extremely familiar if you've played the first game. The scaling-down of the amazing watercolour graphics to fit onto the DS screen has worked for the most and the beauty of the world is intact.
It plays similarly to the Zelda games, in the cycle of world exploration, dungeons and a steady accumulation of powers which you'll need to kill increasingly complicated bosses. When you come across a new area, a large purple cursed zone restricts your access. This can be eliminated by rejuvenating the Guardian Sapling . Taking this magical, bizarre world of fantasy-historical Japan at face value - a world where balancing pigs descend from the heavens - is part of what makes Okamiden such an absorbing experience.
Chibiterasu has inherited his mother's Celestial Brush, giving him power over nature. Tapping one of the shoulder buttons drops the gameplay into the touchscreen, allowing you to affect the world by drawing on it. You'll start off with simple enough powers that can be used for exploration and combat.
A horizontal slice removes rocks and performs a damaging slash while a circle rejuvenates trees and can be used against flowering demons. Broken items can be fixed with the Brush, cracks in the wall can be blown open with a Cherry Bomb, and constellations traced to summon your fellow gods, who'll give you new powers to play with.
Chibi isn't as powerful as his mum, so he picks up a number of companions to help him on his way. Kumi is first - the adopted son of Susano, the warrior who helped your mum beat the evil Orochi. As a companion, he's fairly light on power, acting mostly as a guide. It's only when your companion changes that you get a taste of variety - among many others,
the mermaid can control water and the brattish Kagi is hiding a serious electrical kick.
Combat was always a bit of an Achilles' heel with Okami. Angry scrolls roam the land - bump into them and you'll trigger a fight. The wildly dynamic camera angles make Okamiden's combat disorientating, especially when there's more than one enemy. It becomes impossible to avoid attacks from directions you cannot see, and occasionally you'll be fighting blind.
When it comes together, though, it's hugely satisfying. From simple beginnings - attack, jump, dodge - the creatures get more complicated, requiring Celestial Brush techniques and elemental help from your companions to fight them effectively.
At the beginning, Okamiden seems less like a true sequel and more of a reiteration. The same style, the same Shinshu Field - it's a relief when you make it to Agata Forest and realise the game isn't going to be a blow-for-blow retelling of the first. With the forest submerged by a giant magical catfish, the temple there has been over-run with water.
At times the dialogue slips into a slow mode, with long pauses between lines, and text left for too long on the screen. Adding insult to injury, you can't skip individual lines and instead can only opt to skip the entire conversation.
That's not enough to ruin the game though. Far from it. There's way too much depth and length on offer here to let our impatience ruin a lovely experience that will last 15-20 hours.